A brave young man by the name of Ian Matuszak, who suffers from cerebral palsy and has stage 3 oesophageal cancer, achieved something great this month earning his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at a fundraising event at Longo-Weidman MMA centre in Garden City, NY.
The 20-year-old earned his belt in front of the likes of UFC champ Chris Weidman, Eddie Gordan, Al Iaquinta and Aljamain Sterling, all members of the Serra-Longo Fight Team, along with Matt Serra himself and Renzo Gracie both looking on.
“He trained before the cancer diagnosis at least twice weekly” Matuszak’s instructor, Dave Patton, told Fox5NY. “He’s done two tournaments. One was for people with disabilities and the other was a regular tournament. We had people come from as far as North Carolina to the fundraiser. He’s one of the hardest working and driven people I’ve ever trained with.”
Serra BJJ instructor and black belt Tony Quagliata also spoke of his admiration for Matuszak.
“He doesn’t use anything for an excuse. He just gets on the mat and does it. When you’re around Ian you don’t have any excuse not to train. You can’t say I have a bad knee or I am too old to train. This young man fights obstacles every day. Things we take for granted Ian would love to be able to do.”
Matuszak’s supporters have also created a GoFundMe page for the athlete in order to help with his ongoing medical bills.
Alan’s Angle: Delighted to see a story like this. Although it isn’t MMA news it still has a major impact for everyone involved in martial arts as no matter which discipline you’re involved in whether it be BJJ or karate or judo etc. it can have a positive effect on someone’s life. Ian’s story is one of true inspiration and as of Tuesday afternoon I am delighted to see that his ‘Go Fund Me’ has already received $11,500.